Related on TestTube
How Does Loud Music Cause Hearing Loss?
Can We Reverse Hearing Damage?
Hearing damage is a major issue! It's also irreversible in humans. We've discussed hearing damage before, but the long and short of it is this: sound waves can do serious damage on the coating of the auditory nerve that carries sound signals to the brain. While some animals, including certain birds and reptiles, can regenerate these small hair cells that in the inner ear, humans cannot.
A common consequence of hearing damage is a constant ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus. Neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center have been able to pinpoint why this ringing sound occurs. When we expose ourselves to loud noises for extended periods of time, there are certain neurons that get excited. Usually, this eventually subsides and the neurons calm down, but for those with tinnitus, the nerves stay hyperactive. The nervous system is trying to overcompensate, resulting in a persistent ringing sensation. This can be a major problem for people. Tinnitus has been known to cause anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and general hearing trouble.
It's a widespread issue, according to the World Health Organization. It estimates that over 43 million young people between the ages of 12 and 35 years live with severe hearing loss. That's on top of the some 1 billion people who are at risk for hearing loss. Something to keep in mind the next time you're at a concert. Bring some earplugs.
A billion at risk for hearing loss from exposure to loud music (via CNN)
"More than one billion teens and young adults are at risk of losing their hearing, according to WHO (that's the World Health Organization, not the rock band)."